WOOD-SORREL

Oxalis acetosella

Wood-Sorrel Family [Oxalidaceae]  

month8apr month8april month8May

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8white flowers8pink
inner
inner8mauve
inner
inner8yellow
inner
inner8green
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
stem
stem8round
toxicity
toxicityZlowish

27th April 2010, Birchen Edge, Baslow, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
A flush of Wood Sorrel. It prefers moist grassland in darkish places within deciduous woodlands.


16th April 2010, Dalegarth Woods, Eskdale Valley, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
A very low plant that likes to grow in damp dark deciduous woods. Here growing on Moss. In subdued light the single flowers atop single stalks droop downwards, whilst the trefoil leaves fold up.


24th April 2009, canalside woods, Greenfield. Photo: © RWD
Tends to form clumps gathered into larger groupings.


24th April 2009, canalside woods, Greenfield. Photo: © RWD
The flower stems have a thickened node with a brown band about half-way up, rather like those nodes in long grass stalks.


16th April 2010, Dalegarth Woods, Eskdale Valley, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
In brighter comnditions the flowers sit upright with both the petals and the trefoil leaves fully opened out.


16th April 2010, Dalegarth Woods, Eskdale Valley, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
In dimmer light the petals overlap, not fully open. The white petals are veined mauve. The inner part of the petals have yellow markings, whilst the innermost sepal tube part is a light green. The flowers, even when fully open, are always inwardly curved and not flared into a trumpet like those of Lilac Sorrel.


16th April 2010, Dalegarth Woods, Eskdale Valley, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Fully open petals still curve inwardly.


1st May 2007, Foulstone Road, Strines, Sheffield. Photo: © RWD
In darker conditions the flowers droop and close up into a goblet shape. The trefoil leaves have a few short hairs covering the upper surface. The lower surface is paler, and sometimes tinged purple.


10th May 2006, Langho, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
The leaves pivot about the fulcrum and fold aling the mid-rib.


28th April 2007, Greenfield, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
Leaves half-opened.


19th April 2007, Llangollen Canal, Chirk. Photo: © RWD
There are five narrow sepals at the back of the flower. The upper part of the stem is hairier than the lower part. The purple veins penetrate all the way through the thickness of the petals.


24th April 2009, canalside woods, Greenfield. Photo: © RWD
The inner yellow splodges are reminiscent of Grass Of Parnassus.


16th April 2010, Dalegarth Woods, Eskdale Valley, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
A fully-folded leaf resembles a dart with a three-winged flight. Hairs perpendicular to leaf surface.


Some similarities to : Other other Sorrels and Grass Of Parnassus.

No relation to : Sheep's Sorrel (Rumex acetosella), Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa), Mountain Sorrel (Rumex digyna) nor to French Sorrel (Rumex scutatus) [plants of similar name belonging to a differing genus, Rumex, which belongs to a differing family Polygonacea (Dock and Knotweed Family, although both genera possess salts of Oxalic Acid such as Calcium Oxalate].

Like all sorrels of species oxalis it contains the poison oxalic acid, a bitter and astringent substance. Oxalic acid is present in long sharp crystals called raphides, which are especially dangerous because they can penetrate cells, exposing the cell to highly acidic Oxalic Acid. The leaves were thus used to give zest to salads, although eating too much is a bad thing.

By boiling the extract the substance sal acetosella (potassium bioxalate), KOOC.COOH was formerly obtained.


  Oxalis acetosella  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Oxalidaceae  

Distribution
family8Wood-Sorrel family8WoodSorrel  family8Oxalidacaea

 BSBI maps
genus8Oxalis
Oxalis
(Wood-sorrels)

WOOD-SORREL

Oxalis acetosella

Wood-Sorrel Family [Oxalidaceae]  

WildFlowerFinder Homepage